CIMT Measurements for Vascular Age
At UW Health in Madison, Wisconsin, our Heart and Vascular Care preventive cardiologists are national leaders in using carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) measurements to predict cardiovascular disease.
By using high-resolution B-mode ultrasound to examine the carotid artery wall, instead of the lumen, our physicians are able to identify an earlier stage of atherosclerosis than would be possible with standard Duplex carotid imaging.
The CIMT imaging procedure is completely noninvasive, does not involve radiation, and has no adverse biological effects. In addition, research studies have demonstrated the statistical significance of CIMT measurements in predicting future cardiac events - such as heart attacks, stroke and death.
Determining Cardiac Risk
UW Health Heart and Vascular Care is one of the largest clinical programs in the nation and the only one of its kind in the region providing CIMT screening. We have advocated for our patients by working with local insurance providers to cover the costs of the test.
And most importantly, we have translated CIMT measurements into a clinical tool called "vascular age." This allows clinicians to more accurately determine patients' cardiac risk, and patients are able to understand it in a more meaningful way.
Our experience has shown how significant vascular age is in practice. In a group of over 500 patients who underwent CIMT studies, approximately three-quarters were found to have a vascular age greater than their chronological age. When we substituted vascular age for chronological age, we found that 60 percent of these patients were at a higher risk for coronary heart disease than previously thought.
Sharing Our Expertise
We are proud to share this innovation with the medical community. Ultrasound vendors such as Siemens and Camtronics have licensed our patented vascular age algorithms. And, with leadership positions at the American Society of Echocardiography and the American College of Cardiology, our faculty are formulating national practice guidelines for this valuable clinical tool.